Hello, my name is Ant and I identify as… well—honestly, I’m pretty unsure.
Sexuality and orientation can be messy; it’s not always as clear-cut as some might think. It can be a constantly shifting and evolving part of your self-identity and preference(s). (Or not: for some people sexual preference is more straight-forward and rigid, which is obviously totes cool!) Speaking personally, my sexuality is still something of a mystery.
Growing up, I found myself attracted to women. I would hide from pretty girls in shops behind my mum’s light-washed, slightly flared jeans (It was the 90s, after all), and I struggled to speak to most of the girls in my life for fear of embarrassment. But I can vividly remember the first time I really developed a crush on a boy. He was my best friend at school and I found him completely gorgeous.
I told a close friend of mine about my feelings and he decided during one morning attendance to shout them out: “ANT HAS A CRUSH ON X!” I desperately tried to drown out what he was saying and sunk into my stool. It made me feel like I had something to hide—and this feeling was only further fueled by the prevailing attitude at my school. There was a huge trend of homophobia there, complete with casually-employed slurs and hideous preconceptions.
After this happened, I found myself almost solely watching gay porn. It was a new experience for me, and I found it incredibly exciting. I really thought at this point that I must have been bisexual: my attraction to women hadn’t subsided, but I was suddenly very into the idea of being with men. As the years progressed and I started entering sexual relationships, I only engaged with girls. I still watched a lot of gay porn and found myself attracted to men, but I just never acted on it—and, honestly, I still haven’t.
I’ve battled a lot of confusing and conflicting thoughts about the “validity” of my sexuality—I’ve never been with a guy, so does that mean I can be bi? (I understand that this isn’t at all the case, but that doesn’t make my insecurities go away.) I’m currently in a monogamous relationship with a woman, so does that negate some of my sexual identity?
Interestingly, my partner has previously been with women both romantically and sexually and has helped me come to terms with my sexual fluidity. She’s been very understanding and gentle with me and even helped introduce me to the idea of sexual fluidity: the concept that your emotional or sexual feelings, circumstances, and all manner of other factors can shift and change throughout your life. In other words, your sexual orientation can be an ever-changing thing, and that’s totally okay.
Fundamentally, I still don’t know how to classify my sexuality, but I’ve made my peace with not necessarily knowing. A friend asked me a while ago: “Ant, you’re straight, right?” to which I responded, “I don’t know.”
And, honestly, I’m okay with never quite being sure.